McIlroy recovers from horror start at the Memorial

McIlroy recovers from horror start at the Memorial
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits from a bunker toward the fourth hole during the second round of the Memorial golf tournament, Friday, July 17, 2020, in Dublin, Ohio. Photo: AP/Darron Cummings)

Rory McIlroy was comfortably inside the halfway cut at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Ohio, despite a disastrous opening to his second round that saw him drop three shots in his first two holes.

McIlroy followed bogie on the 10th, his first, with double bogey on the Par 5 11th, after finding water down the left.

But he recovered from there to post a 72 and halfway total of two-under. 

“There’s some good in there; obviously, some mediocre (too), and there was some pretty poor shots," McIlroy said. "But I battled back well. I got off to a terrible start, battled back and hung in there and ended up shooting a reasonable score . . . . I came back well and that’s all you can ask for,” said McIlroy, back in action after a two-week break.

“I just struggled a little bit and felt like I was in between yardages and trying to hit a lot of three-quarter shots and just not sure with my decels (declerations) on a couple. I actually hit a couple fat, which I’ve had Harry (Diamond) look at my ball position. I might have crept a little too far forward.”

Shane Lowry bogeyed two of his closing four holes to finish three-over and four-over overall, missing the cut, while Graeme McDowell shot a 76 to drift to 11-over.

Early clubhouse leaders Tony Finau and Ryan Palmer were sitting on nine-under, with Jon Rahm a shot further back. 

“The key was making a few par putts. A couple, three-, four-, five-, six-footers for par that kept the round going," Spaniard Rahm said. "Overall really solid. Feel really comfortable. Hopefully I can tidy up my iron game a little bit. I made a couple mistakes, and luckily my short game bailed me out.

Five-times champion Tiger Woods was in danger of missing the cut on three-over, saying his troublesome back was an issue as he struggled during his second round.

Woods, despite playing in much easier scoring conditions than Thursday’s opening round at Muirfield Village Golf Club, was visibly frustrated during a round in which he hit just five of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation.

“I wasn’t quite moving as well as I’d like and couldn’t quite turn back and couldn’t quite clear. It was a bit of a struggle,” said Woods, who three-putted twice in his first four holes at the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout.

“It started this morning during the warm-up. It wasn’t quite as good as I’d like, and it is what it is.” 

Woods, who began on the back nine, birdied the par-three 12th where his tee shot settled two feet from the cup but he then played the next eight holes at six over par.

He followed a bogey at the par-four sixth with two straight birdies en route to a four-over-par 76 that left him at three over on the week in his first PGA Tour event in five months.

Woods, who has had several back surgeries during his storied career, said it often happens that he can wake up feeling fine and then suddenly something goes wrong during warm-ups.

“Well, the last four or five years have been difficult as I’ve gone through procedures and have tried to come back,” said Woods. “It’s going to happen more times than not.

"Aging is not fun. Early on in my career I thought it was fantastic because I was getting better and better and better and now I'm just trying to hold on."

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